FAQs
on yourpremium changes

At this time of year, all health funds review their policies and announce any changes to their premiums.

As our country’s largest not-for-profit health fund, we’d prefer to have no premium increase at all. But we need to balance the growing costs of healthcare to ensure we’re well-placed to cover our members’ needs, while still providing access to quality and timely healthcare.

When are premiums changing?

Health funds review their premiums and policies at this time of year. Any premium changes come into effect from 1 April each year.

Last year, we deferred our April rate change until October as one of the ways we supported our members during the pandemic.

Didn’t premiums change last October?

Yes, premiums changed in October because we deferred premium increases from April 2020 (when changes usually take place). 

The premium deferral was one of the ways we put people before profit and supported members during the pandemic.

Why are premiums going up now?

There are 4 main reasons premiums go up:

  1. More people are going to hospital and the demand for health services continues to rise at a fast rate.
  2. More people are living with chronic health problems, which are costly to manage.
  3. Advances in health technologies and treatments offer better outcomes but often cost more.
  4. The incidence and cost of treating mental health concerns are increasing.

Members can be assured we’re doing everything possible to keep premium increases to a minimum. We deliver great value cover and access to timely, high-quality health services. We tailor our offerings to meet member needs and advocate for things our members benefit from most, like greater transparency around out-of-pocket costs.

Learn more about why premiums change

When will I hear about my new premium?

We’ll contact you by your preferred way of hearing from us by mid-March 2021.

You can also find information about your premium change by:

Your first premium payment after 1 April 2021 will reflect your new premium. You won’t be charged if you’ve already locked in and pre-paid your health insurance premium. Find out more about how to lock in your premium including deadlines here.

My premium increased more than the national average percentage. Why did this happen?

The Australian Government calculates the national average based on the premium increases it approves for all Australian health funds.

Because your premium increase relates to your chosen level of HCF cover, it may be different to the national average (or the HCF average). Your premium increase reflects the balance between managing member payments against the claims we pay out for all members on your level of cover in your state or territory.

Why has my premium gone up when my benefits haven't increased, and I've made few or no claims?

Private health insurance in Australia is community-rated rather than risk-rated. This means you pay the same premium for the same level of cover as everyone else in your state or territory, regardless of your age, health status or the number of claims you make. This helps make private health insurance more accessible for everyone.

As Australia’s largest not-for-profit health fund, we’d prefer to have no increase at all. But we need to balance the growing costs of healthcare to ensure we’re well-placed to cover our members’ needs, while still providing access to quality and timely healthcare.

Why has HCF sent me a Private Health Insurance Statement with my premium review?

Your letter or email includes your Private Health Insurance Statement. This contains a summary of the key benefits of your cover from 1 April 2021.

Can I lock in my current health insurance premium, and how do I do this?

Yes, you can pre-pay and lock in your current premium for up to 18 months. We’ll need to receive your payment via one of the payment methods below before the given deadline.

BPAY: pay before 28 March 2021 (AEST/AEDT)

Direct debit (credit card or bank account): pay before 27 March 2021 (AEST/AEDT)

My Membership app or online member services: pay before 31 March 2021 (AEST/AEDT)

24/7 self-service hotline: pay before 31 March 2021 (AEST/AEDT)

Speak to a consultant over the phone: pay before COB, 31 March 2021 (AEST/AEDT)

Visit a branch: pay before COB, 31 March 2021 (AEST/AEDT)

  • Find your nearest branch
  • Please note we’ll only accept a credit card in branch.

How can I change my payment frequency?

Depending on your policy, you can save time and hassle by automating your premium payments at a frequency that suits you. This could be weekly, fortnightly, monthly, quarterly, half-yearly or even yearly, depending on what cover you hold. You can do this by:

What have we been doing to support members during COVID-19?

The far-reaching impacts of COVID-19 saw us put people before profit like never before. Despite restrictions on our health system we couldn’t previously imagine, we paid out $2.5 billion in hospital and extras benefits in 2019–20.

We’ve provided members with over $100 million in ongoing member benefits and support, deferred last year’s premium increase for 6 months and extended financial help to more than 56,500* members experiencing severe hardship.

We continued to show our members a level of care that’s uncommon, giving members greater flexibility in how and where their care was delivered, many from the convenience and safety of their homes. This included mental health support, telehealth services and out of hospital care.

What is HCF doing to lower the cost of health insurance?

Affordability continues to be an issue across the health system and members can be assured we’re doing everything possible to keep premium increases to a minimum. We deliver great value cover and access to timely, high-quality health services. We tailor our offerings to meet member needs and advocate for things our members benefit from most, like greater transparency around out-of-pocket costs.

At HCF, we work closely with industry groups and government to ensure we have a sustainable health system and keep the costs of health cover as low as possible by:

  • reducing out-of-pocket costs with our handy Participating Provider and Dr Gap tools to help members make informed choices about their healthcare and what they can expect to pay
  • working closely with healthcare providers to make it easier for eligible members to access the services they need and get the best value from their cover including in-home care and hospital substitution programs 
  • offering our More for You extras providers, so eligible members can get 100% back on selected extras services and general treatment like dental, optical, podiatry and physiotherapy^
  • driving reform through partnerships with industry groups and government to influence policy reform to lower healthcare costs and average premium increases
  • investing in the future of healthcare through our HCF Research Foundation and HCF Catalyst program to drive research and innovation in the delivery of affordable and accessible health services for our members and all Australians.

Why does the government give back less in the Australian Government Rebate on private health insurance each year?

The Australian Government Rebate on private health insurance was introduced in 1999 to help make health insurance more affordable.

Each year on 1 April, the government compares the national average of health fund premium increases to the standard cost of living in Australia, known as the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

Usually, the government gives back less in rebates each year. Unfortunately, because the rebate is a government initiative, we don’t have control over how much they reduce it by. For more information on changes to the rebate visit privatehealth.gov.au or ato.gov.au

Please keep in mind the government rebate will also change if your income has changed.

Secondly, your premium might be different if you’ve made changes to your cover, or if you’ve added or removed people from your policy.

Read more about the Australian Government Rebate

I have more questions – how can I get in touch?

If you have a question about your premium change, we're here to help. Our friendly team of health cover experts are always happy to talk through your needs, so give us a call on 13 13 34:

  • Mon-Fri: 8am–8pm (AEST/AEDT)
  • Sat: 9am–5pm (AEST/AEDT).

Or you can email us or ask us in branch.

You can also find more information about how private health insurance works at private health care explained or check our member guide for everything you need to know about your cover.

PEACE OF MIND IN UNCERTAIN TIMES*

  • $2.5b paid for members’ hospital and extras services
  • 1.9m dental treatments covered with no-gap through our More for Teeth program
  • 250,850 members used a no or known-gap provider through our network of 50,700 medical specialists
  • $2.1m in member savings through HCF Thank You rewards

Find out more

AVOIDING UNEXPECTED DOCTOR’S COSTS

Understanding doctors' fees and charges is key to avoiding bill shock.

UNDERSTANDING THE COSTS

How to get the most out of your private health insurance and understand the details.

PRIVATE HEALTH CARE EXPLAINED

What you need to know about the private health system.

HCF THANK YOU LOYALTY PROGRAM

Our exclusive range of loyalty offers and rewards delivers even more value#.

Important Information

*Uncommon Care in Uncertain Times Financial Year 2019–20.

^100% back from providers in our network is available on selected covers. Waiting periods and annual limits apply.

#Eligibility criteria applies. You can access HCF Thank You offers after you've been a member for a month and if your premiums are up to date. Excludes Ambulance Only and Overseas Visitors Health Cover.